PAWTUCKET, R.I. –- After a successful first year as a member of the Little East Conference (LEC), the Castleton University field hockey team was picked to in the conference's Preseason Coaches Poll.
Castleton, coming off the program's most successful season after going 11-1 in LEC play, received 130 total points and tallied three first-place votes to land them second on the list. The preseason favorite, Keene State, is coming off their sixth consecutive LEC tournament win and received 138 total points and eight first-place votes.
Worcester State (126 points, 2 FPV), Southern Maine (105 points), Western Connecticut (104 points), Plymouth State (76 points), Fitchburg State (73 points) and Bridgewater State (65 points) round out the projected tournament field.
The Spartans won the regular season title in their inaugural season in the league and hosted LEC Championship weekend. The team survived against Worcester State in the semifinals with an overtime goal from Gabriella Hunt, before falling to Keene State in the LEC Championship game.
The team returns nine of their 11 starters from a year ago from their regular season title team and will look to improve this season. "We're going to have that culture and trust already established," stated junior forward Allison Lowell. "We're just going to try to work together and do it again."
The team has a new head coach this season, as Charlotte MacDonald enters her first year as Castleton field hockey coach after serving as an assistant at Dickinson College.
Castleton will begin their 2019 campaign on the road as they take on Union College in a non-conference matchup on Friday, August 30.